When Arthur Lee met Shack - Paris 1992

LOVE – Live at Paris L’Europeen – 27 April 1992
(Arthur Lee, Michael Head, John Head, Martyn Campbell, Johnnie Baxter)

Orange Skies, A House is Not A Motel, And More Again, Stephanie Knows Who, She Comes In Colors, Signed DC, My Little Red Book, Seven And Seven Is, Passing By, The Daily Planet, Your Mind & We Belong Together, Hey Joe

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I was there the night Arthur met Shack in Paris in 1992.

I was in the support band for the gig the next night. There was a sound check (to this day I swear they played Butterfly, years before I heard it again) and the rest of my band had sloped off to practice their mumbling and aloofness. I remember the sound man had something to do with the Stone Roses and had got riled when I asked what they were up to. I’d got talking to the shy John and wigged out Michael by saying how much I loved the Pale Fountains then Shack, telling them about gigs at the International 2 and Green Room in Manchester. I was telling their much more accessible manager Andrew the same. Then Arthur arrived.

Arthur had been listening to Shack’s drummer Johnnie Baxter and walked up to them onto the stage to show him what the song should sound like. He could play as well. And it was my drum kit. Then he swapped to guitar and suggested a song, asking if they knew it. Mick and John started playing it. Mr Lee couldn’t stop grinning. It was fantastic. They knew more songs than Arthur had remembered.

I got to sit in an near empty art deco theatre in the centre of Paris shouting out my favourite Love songs and they got played. Whenever Arthur didn’t like something he picked up the instrument and played the part how it should be. Guitar, bass or drums. This went on until they got told to turn the volume down as the police had been round after noise complaints. They simply moved to acoustics and carried on. Name a Love song and they played it. Signed DC was chilling, You Set the Scene and Orange Skies were note perfect. This went on for a good couple of hours to an audience of four. The guy who owned the theatre (Stephane Bismuth), a girl called Hilda, one of her friends and me. They’d immediately bonded on the stage and the gig the next night was stunning.

I was so captivated that the next week when they played the Garage in London I ended up selling t shirts, just to feel a part of it.

It’s my best memory of being in a band, and the only part I ever recount. Whenever anyone mentions Love or Arthur Lee I can stun them into silence by saying ‘I’ve met him’.

– Damien Warburton, April 2010

Photograph by Damien Warburton

8 comments to When Arthur Lee met Shack – Paris 1992

  • mrmoondog

    ahem,
    an audience of at least 5 mate ! It was truly magical – also ask john about Mick waking him up – with Arthur with him.

  • Superyaya

    Wow!!!

    18 years back in time… I remember listening Radio France Inter with Hilda talking about that show. And now it is available, can’t wait to listen to it! Thanks!

    Hilda was the girl behind the Bernard Lenoir “Black Session” during the 90’s.
    She was also the main person behind “Traffic Restreint” a booking agency, many bands get tours thanks to her involvment.
    I’ve met her once at a show, really sweet person.

  • damien warburton

    Mr moondog, i owe you an apology, how could I forget (and i have the photographic evidence) and now amend the audience size to 5.
    Would love to hear the story of Mick being awoken to the dream of Arthur Lee.
    And Superyaya, I agree with Hilda being a really sweet person, she was involved in all bands visiting Paris in the 90s.

  • Wanaboy

    Thank you very much! Looking forward to listen…

  • Coga

    I was at the gig. I missed the first week of my final year at uni in the UK coz of it and had to redo the year again. Well worth it.

    I only sussed out the gig from a poster on the door a week before. I thought Arthur was dead. For a couple of days after I saw the poster I went back to try and find some info about the gig because I thought surely there must be some mistake. It was closed the first couple of times, but on the 3rd visit there was some French guys humping in PA gear for a sex show there (it was close to the Paris red light district of Pigalle). I asked them if it was really Arthur Lee. They didn’t have a clue. A woman opened up the ticket counter for me and she didn’t have a clue either. On the night of the concert I remember looking at the people queuing, trying to gauge whether they were Arthur Lee types. There was an eclectic mix and the people I spoke to were in the same boat as me. Not quite knowing if it really was going to be ‘the’ Love. Love was written on the poster the same way as the Love logo. Is it really going to be Arthur?

    I was expecting Brian McLean et al to take the stage and was really disappointed to see a bunch of scruffy scouse scallywags start playing without any introduction. I was hoping they were the support band and then Arthur came on stage. I couldn’t believe it. My hero for many years, since I first got introduced to Love’s records by a friend in Brighton in 1984.

    Lee was out of his box. At times he started to lean to one side and a roadie had to prop him up vertically again and reposition his sunglasses which kept sliding off his nose onto his harmonica during Signed DC (I think).

    Shack were excellent. Note for note.

    A wonderful night.

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